Latin American legislatures lack transparency and open data

Recently, the second edition of the Latin American Index of Legislative Transparency was launched in the Senate of Argentina. It has been designed to assess the legislatures of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. In the latest measurements the average country score fell below 40%. Peru and Chile head the table with ratings of just above 50%.

The index comprises four dimensions: legal regulations which analyses existing regulations on transparency and public access to information; parliamentary work, this category looks at the existence, publication and frequency of distribution of documents concerning parliamentary activity; Budget and administrative management, this dimension analyses the use and management of financial and human resources; and Mechanisms for participation, public engagement and accountability, among other issues, this dimension looks at whether an office or body for civic participation exists.

As regards the legal regulation dimension, Argentina received a near-average score (46%), while only Peru and Ecuador obtained over 50%. Related to the dimension on parliamentary work, Peru (60%) and Argentina (57%) are on top of the list. All countries, with the exception of Venezuela, produce shorthand transcripts of plenary sessions. On the other hand, parliaments under-performed in the Budget and administrative management dimension, with an average rating barely above 25%. Finally, Peru (68%), Ecuador (68%) and Chile (65%) scored high on Mechanisms for participation, public engagement and accountability, while Argentina ranked last, obtaining only 23%.

Sandra Elena, Director of the CIPPEC’s Justice Programme said:

“This index is a powerful tool for getting comprehensive, detailed data, and in a systematic way, on the reality of our legislatures, while it is a vehicle to ensure true accountability in our parliaments”.

The event was transmitted by streaming in the context of the Open Parliament Week. The complete report can be found at www.transparencialegislativa.org where it is also possible to download data-sets and questionnaire responses disaggregated by country. The index is posted in open data formats.